Top one-hit wonders now looping on our mental radio

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One-hit wonders. We love 'em. Whenever we hear them, we can't help but crank up the volume and belt out the lyrics. And if there's a dance floor nearby, you can bet everybody will flock to it.

We love one-hit wonders so much that somebody somewhere dedicated an entire day for us to celebrate these earworms. Yes, Sept. 25 is National One-Hit Wonder Day. It's a thing and, of course, it has a hashtag -- #OneHitWonderDay. It doesn't get any more legit than that!

There are all kinds of curated and listener-generated lists floating around the internet -- some of them specific to an era like VH1's 100 One-Hit Wonders of the '80s – and don't get me started on the staggering number of CD and streaming compilations featuring the phrase many utter with a mental eye roll.

"I instantly think of some awesome song that I loved and then whatever the band's next song was, I hated," actor/comedian Rachel Quaintance said on VH-1.

Sounds about right, doesn't it?

"A lot of people make fun of one-hit wonders ... but forever, that person is gettin' a check," comedian Jake Fogelnest said in the same vignette. "They're gettin' paid."

Yep.

So, believe it or not, there is an objective definition of a one-hit wonder.

According to Wayne Jancik, the author of 1998's "The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders," a one-hit wonder is "an act that has won a position on [the] national, pop, Top 40 just once." Because there are about 50 bajillion ways to break it down, he used Billboard's The Hot 100 list.

Billboard, of course, is the end-all be-all of music ratings. Charting music is what it does. In business since 1894, Billboard bills itself on Facebook as "the world's premiere [sic] music publication" and "the primary source of information on trends and innovation in music"

Who are we to argue with that?

In case you're wondering how the list works, Billboard explains it as a relatively simple formula: The Hot 100 = Radio Airplay + Sales Data + Streaming Data.

OK. As long as we don't have to do the math, right?

Here's the catch. With as many charts as Billboard has – and believe me, there are many, especially when you look at the archives – there is not one for one-hit wonders.

Wait. What?

That's right, Billboard does not have a chart for one-hit wonders -- at least not that we could find. And apparently nobody has found it either, hence the curated and listener-generated lists.

[BUZZFEED: The 25 most loved one-hit wonders ever]

That in mind, we're going to defer to another music specialist – VH-1.

[WATCH: VH-1 on "The term 'One Hit Wonder'"]

In 2002, William Shatner hosted a VH-1 special running down its list of 100 greatest one-hit wonders.

We've listed the top 10 below. Click here for the entire playlist (with a couple of exceptions) on Spotify.

10. "99 Luftballons" by Nena (1984)

9. "Rico Suave" by Gerardo (1990)

8. "Take on Me" by A-Ha (1985)

7. "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice (1990)

6. "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men (2000)

5. "Mickey" by Toni Basil (1982)

4. "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred (1991)

3. "Come on Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)

2. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell (1982)

1. "Macarena" by Los Del Rio (1993)


When it comes to one-hit wonders, everybody has an opinion.

Consequence of Sound, a Chicago-based online publication that describes itself as "the missing link between mainstream pop culture and the underground," put together its own list of best 100 one-hit wonders just last year, including its take on the definition of the term we all fling around with the understanding that people will know what we mean.

"For us, it’s an act who reached their peak popularity with a high-charting hit and then saw that popularity wane and never return once their song ran its course," Matt Melis, the editorial director, wrote. "They’re an artist, band, or group who we’ll forever identify with one song."

Here are the top 10 songs the CoS staff came up with.

10. "What Is Love" by Haddaway (1993)

9. "Under the Milky Way" by The Church (1988)

8. "99 Luftballoons" by Nena (1982)

7. "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger (1997)

6. "Do You Love Me" by the Contours (1962)

5. "Take on Me" by A-Ha (1985)

4. "O-O-H Child" by Five Stairsteps (1970)

3. "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia (1977)

2. "Rapper's Delight" The Sugarhill Gang (1979)

1. "I Melt With You" by Modern English (1982)


Of course, no list would be complete without staff picks (Like we said, everyone has an opinion!), so here, in no particular order, are 22 of our favorite one-hit wonders. (Just so you know, we had trouble limiting it!) We put the videos in a YouTube playlist for your listening convenience. Feel free to get up and dance.

"Steal My Sunshine" by Len

"Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

"Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities

"Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles

"I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred

"Bitch" by Meredith Brooks

"Jump Around" by House of Pain

"The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats

"Barbie Girl" by Aqua

"Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus

"Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of...)" by Lou Bega

"Cum on Feel the Noize" by Slade

"Bitter Sweet Symphony" by The Verve

"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba

"Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice

"Closing Time" by Semisonic

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something

"Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65

"Absolutely (Story of a Girl)" by Nine Days

"Kung Fu Fighting" by Cark Douglas

"Puttin' on the Ritz" by Taco

"Don't Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin

Click here for our YouTube playlist.


Now that we've covered some of the best one-hit wonders, we cannot in good conscience wrap up without at least touching on some of the best songs in the history of ever, at least according to Billboard.

Top 10 Greatest of All Time: Hot 100 Songs (as of Thursday, Sept. 22, 2017)

10. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles

9. "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone

8. "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John

7. "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" by Los Del Rio

6. "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas

5. "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

4. "How Do I Live" by LeAnn Rimes

3.  "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin

2. "Smooth" by Santana featuring Rob Thomas

1. "The Twist" by Chubby Checker


If any one of these songs -- or even a mashup -- is now playing on your mental radio, we have done our job.

Did your favorite one-hit wonder make any of these lists? If not, be sure to share it in the comments below or tag #OneHitWonderDay and #azfamily on social media! We'd love to know what's on  your one-hit wonder playlist!


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